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Rhythm-Space Harmony

of Isabelle Sabrié

The Amazonian forest, an extraordinary sound balance in the 3 dimensions of the physical space.

I was amazed when I discovered the sounds of the Amazon rainforest during my trip to French Guiana for 3 recitals in December 2006. The mystery of how we succeed to distinguish each sound in the midst of dozens or hundreds of other sounds, was for me like a world peace which principles urgently needed to be understood.

After a long immersion in the Amazonian sound universe and innumerous observations on the synchronization of the sounds of living beings in the 3 dimensions of space, I gradually conceived the rhythm-space harmony that builds my musical compositions and creations since 2010. I also made some hypothesis about this space-time organization, some of which began to receive international scientific confirmations since 2017. 

Rhythm-space harmony is a musical language that links time and space, based on the physical and temporal proxemics observed in the Amazonian forest. Precise distances are established between the sound sources, positionned around the public. The sound balance between the sources is realized by a specific time-space organization: this is a musical biomimetic concept inspired by the multipolar natural balance of biodiversity.

This language allows creating “spatialized melodies” which evolve in various points of a hall´s space, it develops musical dialogs or multilogs between these points, and sound movements in space. It is visual for dance creations, films, sound installations. At the opera, it directly participates in the theatrical action, bringing a spatial expression of real and virtual worlds, or of the movement of emotions¹.

Rhythm-space harmony adds the movements of sound in space, to the classical or romantic harmonic system, to the jazz, to modal, ethnic, popular music, or to any musical system, type of sound or language. It allows a “harmonious” and perceptible coexistence of several very different musical systems, using the positions in space to solve the problem of the cohesive factors in polyrhythms, described by Olivier Messiaen². And, as for example in the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach, the musical discourse, here polyrhythmic and spatial, is more important than the timbres.

Rhythm-space harmony builds percussive rhythms in 3D, popular and erudite. It uses the boxes of the Theater à l´italienne to place small orchestral groups or choirs, reuniting tradition with modernity. It may also flourish in modern multi-stages theaters, multi-channel sound halls, Dolby theaters.

Rhythm-space harmony is an expression of our multilingual, real/virtual, simultaneousmulti-lives on internet/ smartphone /computer/ tv /radio/ virtual games / real life. It is the artistic language of a new balance, spatial, multidimensional, for the arts, thought and technologies of the 21st century. Edgar Morin, father of the transdisciplinary Complex Thinking, is its godfather.

¹    Isabelle Sabrié, l’artiste qui compose aux sons de la forêt amazonienne.
Radio France (France Musique), 16-06-2022 (🇫🇷)
      Compositora francesa cria sinfonias, óperas e balés com sons da Floresta Amazônica
Radio France Internationale, 28-07-2022
²    Traité de Rythme, de Couleur et d ´  Ornythologie. Olivier Messiaen. Tome I, p 30.